SANAA — Yemen has asked Washington to provide it with drones, and strikes conducted by unmanned US planes in the impoverished nation are part of anti-terrorism cooperation, President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi said.
“I have talked with the US administration about helping us with this technology ... Yemenis are clever and can understand it very quickly,” Hadi said in a speech reported by the Saba state news agency late Thursday.
Drones have killed dozens of militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, and only the United States possesses such aircraft in the region.
Hadi defended the use of drones by saying they were more precise than other weapons.
“The cooperation in the field of combating terrorism is not a secret,” said Hadi, referring to his country’s US-backed fight against al-Qaida militants.
“We are part of an operations room in Djibouti, and have officers who are part of a control room in Bahrain, in an international military effort to combat and watch terrorists,” he said.
The United States closed 19 diplomatic missions in Muslim countries on Aug. 4 after reported intelligence intercepts from al-Qaida suggested an attack was imminent.
The US embassy in Sanaa, which was seen as the epicenter of the threat, remained shut for two weeks.